Shia's Dominance

Since 2008-07-01

Throughout such a story, we could find out clearly that Shiite movements only rose as rebellious movements against the Sunni rule hiding under the guise of the religious people who love or are affiliated to the Prophet's Household.

Many readers - as noticed from their comments - have surely been shocked by the history of the rise of Shia. Certainly, we do not record historical facts merely to know what had happened in various stages of history. Rather, we aim at taking lessons wherefrom so that we might be able to tackle our crises in a better and a clearer way. Therefore, ignoring such history stands for committing a crime against modern generations. By doing so, we deprive ourselves of light if we overlook studying the roots of the issue, otherwise. Moreover, first of all, the Qur'an enjoins us to study the stories of ancient nations so as to apply its lessons to our actual fact. In this regard, Allah (may He be Exalted) said, "So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect." [Al-A`raf, 176], {فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ} Transliteration: Fāqşuşi Al-Qaşaşa La`allahum Yatafakkarūna, Accordingly, it is not enough to merely tell stories. Rather, we have to reflect on stories and derive wherefrom practical methods to help us understand our actual fact and thus be enlightened about our future.

I would like to start the article with two important notes:

First: To understand and benefit from this article, readers should first read my previous article "Origins of Shia", as I highlighted there their origins and referred to some doctrines of Shia, which will help understand the developments.

Second: Until the moment I only narrate events and report authentic narrations. However, I have not yet highlighted our attitude toward Shia and the nature of relations that should be between us and them. Anyway, I will single out my next article for this topic. Thus, it will be useful to me to receive your impressions on how should we deal with them, especially while bearing in mind the historical and religious backgrounds we dealt with in detail.

Now back to the story of Shia:

After the death of Al-Hassan Al-`Askary (whom they consider their twelfth Imam), Shia passed by what was known in the history as the period of "Shia's Bewilderment", during which they were divided into many sects, each formulating its religion beliefs according to their whims in such a manner as to have better political gains. The most famous of such sects was Ithna `Ashriyyah (who believe in, study and prepare for the advent of the Imam Al-Mahdi, the twelfth descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who is believed to be still alive and waiting for the world to prepare for his emergence from occultation and just leadership), which we dealt with in the previous article. However, it was not the sole sect on the arena. Rather, another but more dangerous sect rose which had the worst impact on the Muslim Ummah, namely, Isma`iliyyah (a major branch of the Shia with numerous subdivisions. It branched off from the Imamiyyah by tracing the imamate through Imam Ja`far Al-Sadiq's son Isma`il, after whom it is named). It is one of the most erroneous sects whose followers are judged by most Muslim scholars to be out of the scope of Islam. A cunning plan by a Jew, called Maymun Al-Qaddah, who sought to plot against the Muslim Ummah, was behind the foundation of such a sect. This man pretended to be a Muslim and curried favor with Mohammed bin Isma`il bin Ja`far Al-Sadiq, making closer ties with him.

Mohammed bin Isma`il belongs to the Prophet's Household and is the grandson of Ja`far Al-Sadiq (the sixth Imam according to Ithna `Ashriyyah). His father Isma`il is the brother of Musa Al-Kazim, the seventh Imam according to Ithna `Ashriyyah. Maymun Al-Qaddah perpetrated an act showing his great rancor to the Muslim Ummah, which motivated him to plan to undermine it even if several decades after his death! Maymun Al-Qaddah named his son bin Mohammed and bequeathed him to give his sons and grandsons the same names of Muhammad bin Isma`il's sons and grandsons. His plan was that with the passage of time, those Jews would claim affiliation to the Household of the Prophet (peace be upon him) being the descendants of Muhammad bin Isma`il bin Ja`far Al-Sadiq! This is not everything. They are to claim that the right to the grand Imamate that is to dominate the entire Muslim Ummah is exclusive to the descendants of Isma`il bin Ja`far Al-Sadiq rather than those of Musa Al-Kazim as claimed by Ithna `Ashriyyah. Maymun's dreams came true and the Isma`iliyyah sect came into existence. Later on, Maymun Al-Qaddah's grandsons started to fabricate tenets and beliefs totally running counter to Islam. One of the most offensive of their tenets is that they believe in Incarnation (their Imam is Allah incarnate). They also believe in transmigration (the passing of the soul, especially those of their Iamams, at death into another mortal body). Moreover, they also believe that their Imams will return to life after death. Furthermore, they are extremely licentious and indecent and publicly slander Companions and insult the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself although they claim affiliation to him. Besides, their great concern was to assassinate Sunni leaders in the Muslim world. However, they will have a very serious potential with which I will deal later in this article.

Preaching Isma`iliyyah's destructive ideas then started to spread vividly among the ignorant. Making use of people' s love of the Prophet's Household, they persuaded a group of people that they were the grandchildren of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). Many Persians who pretended outwardly to be Muslims while were inwardly Magi, embraced this call. One of them was Hussein Al-Ahwazy, who was one of the most devoted propagators and prominent founders of Isma`iliyyah. He practiced his mission in Basra where he happened to know a very virulent character in the history of Islam, Hamdan bin Al-Ash`ath. The latter's ethnicity is controversial. Some scholars say he was a Persian Magi, while others say he was one of Bahrain Jews. However, Hamdan bin Al-Ash`ath was nicknamed "Qurmut". With the passage of time, he formed his own sect which was named Al-Qaramitah after his name. It is a branch of Al-Isma`iliyyah sect but is even more dangerous. This sect holds the idea of common ownership of money and women. Its adherents deem all prohibited acts such as murder, adultery and theft to be lawful. Furthermore, they make living on pillage and highway robbery. Concomitantly, all thieves and outlaws joined it and thus it became one of the most dangerous sects in the history of the Muslim Ummah.

All these and other countless developments took place during the second half of the third century A.H., which resulted in the rise of three major sects, Ithna `Ashriyyah, Isma`iliyyah and Qaramitah, each claiming to be on the right. Moreover, they differ in all respects including doctrines, principles and rulings. However, there were conflicts between them and Sunnis as well as among each other, as each of them denied the truth of the other. Actually, they were motivated by whims and innovation in religion.

Until this stage of history, such sects were no more than movements that staged disorder and turmoil within the Muslin Ummah. However, they had not yet assumed power or had sovereignty. By the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth century A.H., great developments took place that led to serious repercussions.

The first sect to assume power was Al-Qaramitah, because it was the most virulent and violent sect. One of its propagators, Rustum bin Al-Hussein, reached Yemen where he established an Al-Qaramitah-based state and started to correspond with people everywhere - they corresponded with even Morocco - propagating their

doctrine. However, this state did not last long.

Anyway, another Al-Qaramitah-based state was established on the Arabian Peninsula especially in Bahrain. (It is not today's Bahrain but the area to the east of Arabia.) The Qaramitah state in such an area represented so great threat to the safety of Muslims that they murdered Hajjis. Perhaps the most heinous crime they committed was attacking Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mousque) on the Day of Tarwiyah (the eighth day of the month of Dhul‑Hijjah) in 317 A.H., during which they killed all Hajjis in the Haram (Sacred Mosque) and stole the Black Stone from the Ka`bah after having broken it! They took the Black Stone to their capital in Hajar, to the east of the Arabian Peninsula keeping possession of it for twenty two years. However, it was returned to the Ka`bah in 399 A.H.

Concerning Isma`iliyyah, they found the land of Morocco a fertile soil for their call. The ideas of Rustum bin Al-Hussein the Qaramitah-based ruler of Yemen spread in Morocco through a man called Abu Abdullah the Shiite. We know that both sects, Isma`iliyyah and Qaramitah, claim the Imamate of Isma`il bin Ja`far Al-Sadiq.

Therefore, one of the grandsons of Maymun Al-Qaddah, `Ubaidul-Lah bin Al-Hussein bin Ahmad bin Abdullah bin Maymun Al-Qaddah, found it opportune to establish a state in Morocco. Thus, he headed for there and, along with some of his followers, declared the Isma`iliyyah-based state nicknaming himself Al-Mahdi. He claimed to be the Imam of the Isma`iliyyah mission and to be a grandson of Muhammad bin Isma`il bin Ja`far Al-Sadiq and that the previous Imams, i.e. his forefathers ending up in lineage with Isma`il bin Ja`far Al-Sadiq were concealed. Seeking to attract the hearts of masses, he called his state the Fatimide state falsely after the name of Fatimah the daughter of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) although he was of a Jewish origin. His call mushroomed among people on account of their ignorance and passion. It started to extend until it took control of North Africa, spreading such Bid`ahs and evils as judging Companions to be disbelievers, incarnation, transmigration of souls and other false beliefs. Expansion of such a state reached Egypt, which was invaded in 359 A.H. by one of their army commanders, Jawhar Al-Saqalli Al-Isma`ili during the reign of Al-Mu`iz Lidinil-Lah Al-`Ubaidi. (More accurately, he should be better called Al-`Ubaidi, after the name of `Ubaidul-Lah Al-Mahdi, than called the Fatimide.)

Al-Mu`iz Lidinil-Lah Al-`Ubaidi invaded Egypt and established Cairo and Al- Azhar Mosque with the aim of spreading the Isma`iliyyah Shiite sects therein. He also killed Sunni scholars and publicized cursing Companions. The same was also followed by subsequent rulers. Some of them got so mad that they claimed godhood, the most famous among whom was Al-Hakim bi'-Amril-Lah. They have built many mosques to spread their thought. Their rule over Egypt, Levant and Hijaz lasted for about two centuries until Salahud-Din wiped out their evil and librated Egypt in 567 A.H. from the Isma`ilite occupation. As for the third sect, Ithna `Ashriyyah, although believing in many Bid`ahs, it caused less harm than the abovementioned two sects. Adherents of this sect believe in Allah (may He be Exalted), His Messenger (peace be upon him) and Resurrection after death. However, they introduced into religion tremendous and heinous Bid`ahs (innovations in religion) and acts. Moreover, its propagators influenced the major tribes in Persia and Iraq, which resulted in their assuming power in some areas.

For example, they influenced the Saman tribe, a tribe of a Persian descent, which led to its adhering Shiism. The tribe had sovereignty over large parts of Persia (present day Iran) from 261 to 389 A.H. Nevertheless, Shiism could make its way through such a state only by nearly the beginning of the fourth century A.H.

They also influenced the Banu Hamdan tribe, a tribe of an Arab descent affiliated back to the Taghlib tribe. They ruled Mosul in Iraq from 317 to 369 A.H. Their authority extended to Aleppo from 333 to 392 AH.

The most dangerous tribe they influenced was the Banu Buwaih tribe, a tribe from a Persian descent. They established a state in Persia and extended their authority so much as to the Abbasid caliphate in 334 A.H. maintaining a puppet Abbasid caliph for fear that Sunnis might rise against them.

They continued to take control of the Abbasid caliphate for over one hundred successive years (from 334 to 447 A.H.) until the rise of the Sunni Seljuk state that saved Iraq from the Shiite domination. Throughout such years, Shia showed bitter enmity against Sunni scholars and caliph. Furthermore, they wrote phrases at the doors of mosques insulting Companions. They would even insult Abu Bakr and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) in Friday sermons. Undoubtedly, it was a very gloomy period in our Islamic history.

So far, we could see that the fourth century A.H. was a purely Shia-dominated period; the Shiite Buwaihids having had authority over parts of Iran and the entire Iraq, the Samanis having had authority over the east of Iran, parts of Afghanistan and the east of the Muslim world, and the Hamadaniyyun having had authority over parts of Mosul and Aleppo. This is in addition to the Qaramitah's dominance over the east of Arabia and sometimes over Hijaz and even Damascus and Yemen. As to the `Ubaidi (the so-called Fatimide) state, it was so vast that it occupied all African Muslim countries in addition to Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

By the end of the fourth century A.H., the Qaramitah-based state came to an end, while the Banu Buwayh's state was put down by the middle of the fifth century A.H. (447 A.H.). As to the `Ubaidi Isma`ilites, they continued to rule till the middle of the sixth century A.H. (567 A.H.).

Thereafter, the Muslim world was once again Sunni-ruled in all regions even though the Ithna `Ashriyyah sect continued to exist in regions of Persia and parts of Iraq although without assuming power.

The state of affairs continued this way until 907 A.H. (the outset of the tenth century A.H.) when Isma`il the Safavid established the Shiite Ithna `Ashriyyah Safavid state in Iran (named after their grandfather Safiyyul-Din Al-Ardabili, of a Persian descent, who died in 729 A.H.). This state expanded making Tabriz its capital. Engaging into a fierce conflict with the neighboring Sunni Ottoman empire, the Safavids allied with the Portuguese in order to defeat Ottomans. They occupied parts of Ottoman-subordinate Iraq, where they started to spread their Shiite ideology. However, Sultan Selim I fought against them in a well-known decisive battle called in history Chaldrian in 920 A.H., in which he had great victory over them and could expel them from Iraq. Time passed and the conflict continued between Safavids and Ottomans, Iraq being the focus of such a conflict. The Safavid state remained in authority over Iran for over two centuries from 907 A.H. to 1148 A.H., the year when it fell apart, (the Safavids state fell apart in the mid 18th century A.D.), which resulted in the division of Iran into a number of regions that were objects of conflict among Ottomans, Russians, Afghans and the army commanders of Abbas, III the last Safavid sultan.

When the Ottoman empire entered into the crumbling phase and was increasingly clawed by Europeans and Russians, its clutch on the areas to the west of Iran, consequently, got less tight. The Iranian region was thereafter ruled alternatively by many rulers whose loyalty was to Western, British, French or Russians, leaders.

In 1193 A.H./ 1779 A.D., a person called Agha Muhammad Qajar, a Shiite of a Persian descent, assumed authority. However, having secular tendencies, he neither propagated nor ruled according to Ithna `Ashriyyah's doctrines. He and his sons subsequently ruled Iran successively experiencing ups and downs. The ruler in such a dynasty used to be given the title "Shah".

This dynasty's rule was toppled by Reda Bahlavi, who, helped by the British, rebelled against it in 1343 A.H./1925 A.D. appointing himself as the Shah of Iran. However, the British got dissatisfied with him, in 1941 A.D. on account of disagreements that arose between them and thus ousted him and crowned his son Muhammad Reda Bahlavi. The latter continued to rule Iran under the secular system until 1399 A.H./1979 A.D. when the Shiite Ithna `Ashriyyah Revolution headed by Khomeini rose to restore the Shiite system of rule once again in Persia (Iran).

This was the story of the Shiite rule over the Muslim world since the rise of Shia till the present. Throughout such a story, we could find out clearly that Shiite movements only rose as rebellious movements against the Sunni rule hiding under the guise of the religious people who love or are affiliated to the Prophet's Household. During all these stages, we noticed no clashes between any of such sects and such enemies of the Muslim Ummah as Crusaders, Russians, the British, the French or the Portuguese. Moreover, they engaged in no conflict with Tatars or other enemies. On the contrary, we could notice that they repeatedly cooperated with enemies in all stages of history.

Although we do not tend to hold descendants responsible for the faults of ancestors, we aimed at discussing the abstract, ideology and methodology which completely goes in line with that of ancestors, which is the core point and the root of the problem.

So long as there is a belief in the supposition that Imamate is to be assumed by a particular dynasty, that their Imams are infallible, and they defame Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman as well as other Companions and Mothers of the Believers, good faith should never be supposed. Rather, we have to suppose that the descendants have followed the steps of ancestors.

What do you think our attitude toward Shia should be? How should we deal with them? Is it better to discuss their issue or keep silent ? Is it better to be ignorant or knowledgeable about them? This is what we will deal with in our next article, if Allah so wills.

We ask Allah to glorify Islam Muslims.

By: Dr. Ragheb ElSergani

islamstory website


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